Friday, May 22, 2009

Killer Robots from the Future

Yes, it's another Friday morning of pain and whimpering -- well, not really outright pain, but my thighs got a good workout last night in ballet class, so they now have this odd trembly feeling. I may take a walk today to see if I can loosen them up, or that might just make matters worse.

Meanwhile, I seem to keep making progress by cutting words, but have now reached a scene that will require additions to make it have something to do with the plot, so the word count should go up again. It's going to be a working weekend for me -- holiday? What holiday?

I likely won't be catching an opening-weekend showing of the new Terminator movie. This one seems to be the opposite of my reaction to the Star Trek movie. I was dreading the idea of the new Star Trek reboot, but reviews were so positive, both from my friends and the professional critics, that I ended up seeing it and enjoying it. I've been eagerly anticipating the new Terminator movie because I've always wanted to see more about that time period in the story, before/after the original film. But now the reviews are pretty negative, which makes me almost afraid to see it.

I didn't see the original during its theatrical run because I was in high school and not allowed to see R-rated movies. One of my friends had seen it and told me all about it, but most of it didn't sink in. I probably did the smile-and-nod, "uh huh, yeah" response. But then it came on network TV when I was in college, and I happened to walk past the dorm TV lounge as it was coming on. I realized it was that movie my friend had told me about, and I stopped to check it out, then ended up watching the whole thing. I did eventually see the uncut version, as it was a popular selection for our study lounge or cram-people-in-a-dorm-room movie nights (though not watched as often as Highlander, but that's an entirely different story).

I saw T2 on opening day -- and, believe it or not, haven't seen it since, even though I have it on VHS (it was a gift). I know that's the one that has all the buzz and excitement about it and that was supposedly so awesome with all the killer effects, but it left me cold. It seemed to me to be more about the action than about the characters, and there wasn't much of a growth arc. It seemed to be more about people discovering things about the world than about themselves, if that makes sense. Which is why I'm the lone oddball who liked T3 better than T2. Yeah, there were issues with it, but I loved the idea of dealing with the fallout from T2 -- what happens if you've been told your whole life that you're destined to be the savior of mankind and some great hero, but then the event that would make you a hero is prevented? There's some danger inherent in knowing your own destiny because it means you don't have a back-up plan. That made for an interesting character arc. Then there's the fact that they actually Went There with the ending -- seriously, the good guys LOSE. I'm not always of the belief that dark=good, but I thought that was such a startling way to end an action movie that it worked for me.

I also did like the TV series, although the Connors were the least interesting characters. However, the original film will remain my favorite. It works because of its simplicity. It's so very primal because it's about survival and love, period. There's no waffling about the metaphysics of time travel, altering the timeline, or any of that stuff. It has a huge character transformation arc, with Sarah going from wimpy waif waitress to warrior woman who can survive on her own. Not to mention Michael Biehn, managing to look both tough and innocent and with that soft voice still inflected with hints of southern drawl (it's nice that he ended up doing a lot of westerns where he didn't have to fight the accent). Just thinking of "I came across time for you, Sarah" still makes me a little woozy. It often cracks people up when I say that The Terminator is one of my favorite romantic movies, but obviously those are people who haven't seen it.

I don't know if we'll get any similar human stories in the new one, where they can rely so much on action and effects. I like the idea of seeing Kyle Reese before his fateful mission, but it's still hard to imagine anyone else in the role (the one in the TV series so didn't work for me). This time around, it's the same actor who played Chekov in the Star Trek reboot, and I liked him there, but I'm still not sure if it will work.

Still, killer robots from the future! How bad could that be?

Today, though, I have grocery shopping to do (a new branch of my favorite grocery store is opening nearby today, and I really must go) and some errands, and then lots of writing. And probably some un-writing.

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